Ten things to not say to your spouse during a renovation.

by Jill Orr

Almost 16 years ago, my husband and I bought the house he grew up in from his parents. It’s a lovely home at the end of a cul-de-sac, filled with good memories and even better juju. And we’ve spent the past 16 years renovating nearly every square inch of it.

Some of the changes have been easy (Goodbye, blue shag carpeting! Adios, harvest gold Formica countertops!), but other projects have caused more friction — like when Jimmy told me I could literally “do whatever I want” with the basement remodel, so I decorated it in a palate of soft yellows, delicate greens, vibrant pinks, and gentle ivories. And then he spent the next seven years complaining that being down there was like sitting inside a lemon meringue pie.

But I’m proud to say that, despite it all, our marriage has survived the decision-making, budget overages, and bad design choices.

I think that making it through the remodeling or building process has as much to do with what you don’t say as what you do say. Here are 10 things you may find yourself wanting to say to your spouse during your remodel but should resist. Take it from me.

  1. Are you color-blind?
  2. Honey, step away from the power drill.
  3. The budget is just a general guideline, right?
  4. Why would I want to build an entire room that will just encourage your beer drinking and TV watching?
  5. Unless that six-burner gas cooktop orders takeout, I don’t see how it’s going to improve our dinner situation.
  6. Who could possibly need a TV that large?
  7. I don’t really see you as the DIY type. (Alternatively: Are you ever going to finish fixing-slash-building that thing?)
  8. We can use the extra space for when my parents come visit!
  9. You may need to get a second job to pay for my craft room.
  10. I’ll see you in court.

Recent News

Made from Scratch

DeMarko Coleman and Teresa Wright connect over a bagel sandwich. Photos by Keith Borgmeyer The unlikely friendship between DeMarko Coleman and Teresa Wright started...

Laying Down Roots

Clyde and Sheila Ruffin have called Columbia home for 36 years. Photos by Keith Borgmeyer Modern families often find themselves scattered across great distances;...

COMO Loving: Karen Stone

Photo by Keith Borgmeyer Karen Stone, regional program director of The Caring People, is passionate about helping single moms. After teaching school for a...

COMO Loving: Sarah Sandkuhl

Photo by Keith Borgmeyer Yoga instructor Sarah Sandkuhl makes Columbia a better place just by being herself. “Sarah just has this incredible energy. It can...

COMO Loving: Verna Laboy

Verna Laboy lives out her love for the community. Photos by Keith Borgmeyer Community activist Verna Laboy shows up every day to contribute —...